This is the story of KINDRED, the boyband. It’s not one of glamour or your typical popstar sheen, but rather one of hard work, perseverance, and unrelenting determination for a common dream.
It started in 2019 with the birth of KINDRED Productions, a creative haven carved out amidst a difficult and stigmatised industry. The studio prides itself on being a place where artists can be artists, building a space where aspiring musicians can earn from their craft while also honour the artistry that goes behind it.
For the last three years, a myriad of projects have gone in and out of their doors but this comes as the most monumental one yet (one that was even endorsed by megastar Sharon Cuneta herself as "some of the best young musicians around now").
KINDRED, the boyband, never started out as a boyband but rather a mixtape to showcase what the artists under the studio (and also soon-to-be-label) have to offer underlined by the mission to strip the outdated concepts of “underground” and “mainstream” in the Filipino music scene.
“It started basically between a conversation between me and Jorge about the music scene in the Philippines being weird,” KINDRED’s Fern. told Bandwagon. “We felt that the people around us didn’t really like the other one’s music even though we thought we belonged in the same spectrum of music. It was really weird, it was more about the stigma between underground and mainstream and not really about the music anymore.”
From there, plans shifted and ideas evolved to create a boyband that the local music scene has yet to see. Armed with an incomparable drive, innovative sounds, and a vibrant palette of colours, KINDRED are here to be your next favourite boyband in more ways than one.
Comprising Moses (Slomo Says), Obi (Cavill), Jaime (dot.jaime), Vince (Vinced), Fern., Justin (Punzi), and Jorge (Nouvul), the group are an incredible and talented collective determined to make this work. Just ask the unwavering force behind them all and KINDRED’s Marketing Head, Janine.
“There’s really nothing wrong with what I can say about who they are on stage and who they are behind the scenes. It’s so rare for me to see so many boys in one group who are still so open and willing to learn from literally every single personality they get to meet. I think that’s proof that they’re here for the music, for their artistry,” she shared, adding that while it’s difficult being the only girl on the team for now, it’s been a fulfilling ride.
KINDRED has been a project that’s been in work for two years, a time which was interspersed with the inevitable tension you have so many creative personalities all gathered in one place.
“It was and still is a roller coaster […] but I can honestly say that we have grown so much through the years and every single conflict that we've encountered really made led to this super strong bond with each other,” said Janine.
“ I always tell the boys and Janine this but like persistence is really the key. I feel like everything is set out for us—we've worked really hard for this even before KINDRED, like by ourselves in our own artistry. We always work and we love this but it's about persistence. If we gave up on one of those conflicts, this wouldn't happen. So, that's just all we have to do: we have to keep it together always,” added Fern.
“We're all willing to sacrifice the same things to make sure this works for all of us. And I think there are a lot of sacrifices with both but the reason why it works is that everyone knows where to place themselves. Everyone knows exactly what they're supposed to do and everyone's willing to be a part of it,” said Vince.
“Two years? That's a lot especially for me because you know I work in a band, but it's not consistent, unlike with these guys. These guys are also my friends and you know doing this with them for two years straight, it's one of the best feelings I've ever had in my life. We’re family,” said Justin.
“It's not gonna be easy but if we just persist, it'll happen. The only way it won’t happen is when one of us gives up.”
Inspired by an array of artists, including the likes of BROCKHAMPTON and Boy II Men (who they highly credit as one of the best boybands of all time), KINDRED’s music is the amalgamation of all their varied and diverse influences. Striking a balance between harmony and individuality, the boys tease that their upcoming mixtape—slated for release early next year—is the exact thing the local music scene has been missing.
“I don't even think it's [even a particular genre], everyone here really just tries to innovate. We just want to keep making the freshest sounds and fresh songs that people didn't know they wanted to hear,” said Obi.
“It’s like we’re making the music that we want to hear,” added Moses.
A large portion of the mixtape was put together during a retreat in Laguna some time a year ago, during which they learned exactly what the KINDRED sound should be.
“Everyone was just bringing in their own influences. It didn’t feel like we all aligned on one sound but rather it was really just seven people bringing the sounds they’ve grown up listening to. It was just one big melting pot of different things,” said Obi.
“It never felt like we had to adjust ourselves to fit in. We evolved into doing our own thing and we created a sound that really sounded like us, where you can tell everyone was different. We’re comfortable with what we bring to the table, we no longer have to adjust to what’s given to us,” shared Fern.
“When I lay down a verse, especially as a young artist, and these guys are around to hear, I get shy if it’s not the best. Also, I don't usually sing but after hanging around these guys, I've been trying to get out of my comfort zone and doing things I wouldn't usually do in terms of music,” said Moses, adding how they all work hard to foster a space where you are free to experiment and explore creatively.
Their passion for music makes it beyond the songs they perform. You see it in everything they do, especially the vividly colourful posters and soda cans that have graced our timelines over the past couple of weeks.
Taking on their own distinct colours, the visual direction for KINDRED was the brainchild of Janine, Jaime, and Jorge who wanted not only wanted to leave a mark but also to tell a deeper story than what meets the eye.
“It’s satire in a way. We're trying to tell a story about how we're promoting these products but we're actually in a dystopian setting being taken over by capitalists, and we're sending out messages through these ads and posters. To make it satire, we have to make it vibrant, to make it look like nothing's going wrong,” explained Jaime, sharing that they took influence from their experience in advertising.
After two years, they’re finally taking KINDRED out into the world with a Metro Manila tour. Intending on switching up everything the local music scene has been used to, the SWITCH! tour brings to life the vision they’ve had in the best way possible.
And because everything they do is laced with so much heart and soul, each stop and lineup of guests were personally picked out by the members, wanting their introduction to the world to pay ode to the many venues and artists that helped them along the way.
“Everyone was nervous at first cause it's our first [stop] but the crowd was really you know into it. It was super exciting to see them enjoy and to hear everyone sing with us too was very validating because it means our songs are sing-able, you know,” said Jaime, on their first stop at Paper Lanterns in Quezon City.
“To add to that, that was like the first time the crowd were hearing our songs and then they were singing the lyrics back to us so that meant a lot,” shared Moses.
“One of the best parts for me is how we've been looking at this day for like two years and us being here now, still together and pushing through with the whole project, it feels very surreal,” added Vince.
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Good boybands are not easy to find and good friends are even harder to come by, but you get them both in KINDRED. Centred around the same passion and motivated by the same dream, it’s not difficult to tell they’re in this for the long run.
“It really means a lot to me to be able to make music for a living. Eventually, in the future, I hope that we can eradicate the stigma about being a musician and it not being a viable career option. It feels good to be able to do this and have people around me that support me, especially being here because we’re all doing the same thing and is driven,” said Obi.
“It’s always uncomfortable to be in KINDRED, but in a good way. It’s like being comfortable in the fact that it will always be uncomfortable and knowing that you won’t ever get to be the best but these guys telling you that you can always do better. And, everyone shares that same energy all the time, and it always flows between everyone even when we’re not with each other,” said Vince.
“ I’ve always been dreaming about doing something like this, where it’s just beyond the music and I get to do it with these crazy guys. It’s only the start, we don’t even know what’s to come yet and that’s what I’m excited about. I’ve been dreaming about this since I was in high school and now, I’m in it so I’m actually waiting for that,” said Jaime.
With KINDRED, it’s much more than the music. Wanting to propagate an entire culture surrounding their art, this project is an entity the boys hope outlives them and surpasses them to even greater heights.
“We never want it to be about the boyband or about any single person in the group. I want KINDRED to stand for something, even long after we're done with what we're doing,” said Fern.
Catch KINDRED live on their SWITCH! tour this October, with stops in Alabang, Quezon City, and Sucat. Find out more here.
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